Confinement of animals is untolerable

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Dear Editor:

That chicken production will degrade Roaring River State Park and the surrounding land is tragic in more ways than one. Animal confinement operations are the sorriest, most revolting land development imaginable - landfills would actually be preferable. Chicken and hog factories are an oppressive presence on the landscape, embodying the extremes of human brutality to other species and gross indifference to suffering.

Inside animal confinement factories is more misery than you can shake a fork at. Animals are stressed and sickened by crowding; to minimize negative effects on profits, producers drug and maim the animals to keep them alive long enough to become breeders or to transport them to slaughter. Keep out signs around these factories have nothing to do with so-called biohazard control. Operators just don t want the public to know what goes on because it might reduce demand for their products.

Chicken industry spokespersons absurdly claim that there is little danger of runoff, abundant evidence to the contrary. Science has shown these operations pollute every way to Sunday with noxious runoff and stinking air. According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, intensive confinement of chickens, pigs and cows is one of the world s top three environmental threats - polluting water, destroying biodiversity and producing more greenhouse gas than the transportation sector.

Converting family farms into animal factories means engaging in monstrously inhumane and environmentally reckless practices, while diminishing nearby residential property values. When it becomes obvious that these operations have ruined the air and water and the once-beautiful farmland, it will be too late - there will be no going back. Private property rights are not sacrosanct. With just cause, community rights - our rights to a clean environment - can and should trump them.

As Matthew Scully argues in Dominion: The Power of Man, the Suffering of Animals, and the Call to Mercy, animal confinement is morally, culturally and environmentally bankrupt. We must not tolerate it. Instead, we must protest it and outlaw it. We cannot continue to just look away.


Susan Cockrell

Holiday Island, Arkansas